Barcoding & Warehousing Help and User Guide
Table of Contents
2.1. Setup Tab
2.2. Labels Tab
2.3. Reports Tab
2.6. SOP Settings Tab
2.7. POP Settings Tab
2.8. Stock Settings Tab
2.9. Stock Transfer Tab
7.2. Put Away Stock
7.3. Inspect Stock
7.7. Transfer Stock
7.10. Issue/Return Stock
7.11. Job Issue/Return
7.12. Add Stock
7.13. Write Off Stock
7.15. Build Kits
7.17. Stock Enquiry
7.19. General Points
11.1. Barcode Numbers
11.2. GS1 Barcodes
11.3. GS1 Costs
12.1. Zebra Setup Utilities
12.2. Sage 200 Report Designer
13. Trouble Shooting
14. Release Notes
16.1. Sicon v18
16.2. Sicon v19
Help and User Guide maintained for Barcoding & Warehousing version 201x.190.0.0 and upwards
The barcoding and warehousing solution is designed specifically for integration with Sage 200 and for the requirements of the typical Sage 200 client.
Integration with Sage 200 and the Sicon modules is in real time, with the handheld devices communicating directly with Sage 200 using Web API technology. This means there are no external databases to setup and maintain, and no data to synchronise or go out of synchronisation.
Based on an Android operating system interface, Sicon have provided all the standard functionality required in a typical Sage 200 customer warehouse in an intuitive, highly functional interface.
Being Android based you can use this application on very cheap Android based devices from phones to larger tablets, or choose a more expensive ruggedised devices with built in 1d or 2d barcode scanners, cameras, trigger grips etc.
With a high level of functionality across the Sage 200 and Sicon modules, and a great range of devices available to choose from, this solution will appeal to a very broad range of client requirements.
NB: The solution does not include the wireless network infrastructure or the hardware devices. These are up to each client to decide what they need and how best to implement it. We are happy to offer advice and recommendations where it is required. This document goes some way to suggesting some suitable options.
Why use a barcoding solution in your warehouse?
Here are the general benefits:
- Quicker and more accurate stock picking, resulting in fewer returns.
- Quicker and more accurate stock receipting, resulting in better stock accuracy.
- Real-time stock updates into Sage 200.
- Full integration with Sage 200 stock take for quick and accurate stock take, with no manual update of counts.
1.1. Barcoding & Warehousing Pre-Requisites
What will I need installed to make this work?
- Sage 200 installed with the Sage 200 Commercial modules.
- The Sicon Web API installed, (this is the same Web API required for Service Manager Mobile and Task & Contact Manager Mobile). NB: this will require a single Sage 200 Web User only license regardless of the number of handheld devices.
- The Sicon Barcoding App installed on the tablet.
- The Sage 200 add-on from Sicon for Barcoding & Warehousing.
- Your choice of tablet and printer hardware.
- A wireless network to cover the required area.
What do I need to get this operational?
- You can use the tablet application immediately once you have everything installed even if you don’t have any barcodes on any of your products. It will give you real time updates directly into Sage 200 for each of the actions processed on the device. Barcoding your products will improve accuracy and speed of processing.
- If you have barcodes for your products these can be imported into the Sage 200 standard barcode field. If you don’t have specific barcodes for each product, our solution will simply use your stock item code instead. The supplied label layouts will look for barcode numbers in the barcode field, but if these are not available it will replace it with a barcode matching the stock item code.
- You can import a list of bin locations for your warehouse and print barcode labels for each one. Chose a label size to fit your bin sizes from the extensive range available from Zebra or other label printer manufacturers.
- If your products come in with supplier barcodes, then you can link these barcodes to your own stock items as you go. Alternatively, you can print your own barcode labels as you process each goods receipt or when you put away the stock items.
- You are now ready to start using the Sicon Barcoding and Warehousing solution with barcodes.
1.2. Sicon Sage 200 Web API Pre-Requisites
- The Microsoft .NET Framework 4.5.2 must be installed on the Sage Application server.
- An appropriate Service login must be created on the domain. This is detailed in the “Create Service Account” section below.
- A Sage Web User license must be applied to the Sage instance. These must be purchased via Sage directly.
Create Service Account
Create a new Domain User that will be used to access Sage 200, such as DOMAIN\SiconWebAPI. Select the ‘password never expires’ option, and make the user a member of your Sage 200 Users Active Directory group.
Give the account permission to log on as a service. This can be performed under the “Local Security Policy” option found on the Active Directory server.
Open Sage System Administrator.
Right-click ‘Users’ then select ‘Update Users’ from the drop-down menu. Press OK to link the new Sage User.
Right-click on the user and choose properties, then click ‘Is Web User’, then while still on the user properties screen click the ‘Company Access’ tab and select the companies you require the WebAPI to access. The more companies accessed, the higher the memory usage of the service will be, so it is recommended to keep it to a minimum. Then Click OK.
2. Sage Settings
2.1. Setup Tab
Licence Information: Enter a Sicon enable string here to enable the module.
WebAPI URL: This is the Web API URL that links the handheld devices to Sage. You can navigate to the web URL (remove the /api off the URL link) You can log in to see information about the Web API.
You can populate all the database WebAPI URLs, by putting in the following Web URL in a web page followed by /api/Location/Notify. E.g. http://10.0.0.139/Sicon.Sage200.WebAPI/api/Location/Notify
QR Codes: This feature can be used to generate a warehouse QR code. That can then be scanned by a compatible handheld for logging into the warehouse.
App Download: Use the link for downloading the Sicon barcoding application onto the handheld devices. Or scan the QR code on the device to open the web page to download the app.
2.2. Labels Tab
A default label printer can be set from a list of printers available on the Sage server. These printers need to be installed on the server and to be available to the SiconwebAPI user.
Specific label definitions can be designed that can be used to generate labels from within the handheld, printing a target report. There are standard definitions, that can be used from transactions on the handheld e.g. PO receipt. You can also create custom label definitions for example a particular customer may want their preferred labels on despatched products.
2.3. Reports Tab
You can enable a packing list report to be printed during SOP processing and specify the printer to use.
The printer to be used for printing despatch notes and the copy quantity is configured here.
You can also set that a stock transfer despatch note needs to be printed when processing the Sicon stock shortage transfer.
You can also set different printers per warehouse. These can also be set from within the application.
2.4. Users & Permissions Tab
Within this setting, new users can be created and maintained. User access to handheld tasks is controlled here, the standard Sage ‘Core’ tasks and Sicon add on modules ‘Extensions’ tasks.
The unlock picking locks, removes any rogue picking locks on SOPs. The picking locks are being used to identify that the sales order is being picked by a user. This shows in the Sage sales order.
And also on the handheld.
The quantity of units that a user can manually enter rather than scan can be set here. Users can also be set to be able to over receive stock on purchase orders. Printers can also set up against the users, this overrides the default printer or that selected against the warehouse.
2.5. Bin Definitions & Picking
In version 19 of the barcoding module, bin definitions have been introduced. This is to allow the order of allocation and picking to be set and also define different bin types, such as bulk or pick face.
Within the maintain locations screen in the barcode module in Sage, the default bin priority of the bins need to be added.
When adding a bin to a stock item in the handheld (e.g. add stock), the system will use the priority set on the bin in this screen to set the priority of the new bin. If a stock item already has a bin with a bin priority of 2 (default pick face bin) associated to it, then when adding another bin, the system will give this new bin a priority of 3 (overflow). When adding a bin in Sage, the correct bin priority should be set manually, as the default Sage bin priority of 9 may not be correct.
Within the tools import and print label import, bin priorities can be imported. Bins can be exported to excel from this screen, a bin priority added and imported back.Right click on the screen and export all to excel.
Put in a concatenate formula in column F. =CONCATENATE(A3,E3,E3,B3,,C3,E3,D3), then copy out column F and paste into the import screen, per below.
There is an option from within the maintain locations screen to update all existing Sage stock bins (update existing bin priorities) to have the desired bin priorities. This needs to be done when upgrading to version 19 as the default Sage bin priority of 9, is classed as Bulk Storage in the Sicon definitions and will be allocated and picked from last.
Prevent picking from put away prevents users from picking stock items on SOP, works orders or Kits on the handheld. Note users will be able to pick the stock with Sage. By default users will not be able to pick stock from a bin set as an inspection bin (bin priority 7).
There is a warning message on the sales order when stock is allocated to a putaway/inspection bin .
The is also a message in the work order pick screen and kit pick screens.
2.6. SOP Settings Tab
The ‘Receive SOP Returns into bin’ setting dictates what bin sales order returns go to when processing in the handheld.
The ‘Ready to Pick’ settings allows the ready to pick flag to be used within sales orders to dictate what sales orders appear in the handhelds. This can be automatically set when all lines are allocated or when a pick list is printed. It can also be automatically unset on despatch.
The ready to pick flag has been included in the sales order list accessed from within the barcoding module.
The enable move to button on sales order despatch setting allows users to move the picked items to a specified bin location within a sales order e.g. a packing despatch bin location. In the picked window, click on the action button, the user can choose to move the items to a new bin.
Allow despatch of all picked items without confirming counts or serials – This allows all items that have been picked to be easily despatched in the handheld. In the picked window, click on the action button, the user can choose to despatch all picked items.
Hide Info tab on sales order despatch – With this setting on, the info tab within the sales order despatch screen in the handheld is removed.
Show County Code on SOP List – The country code from the customer trading tab is shown on the handheld.
Restrict multiple users from selecting the same sales order – This prevents multiple users picking the same sales order.
Allow stock items to be scanned first when picking- This allows the stock item to be scanned first during picking instead of the bin, the bin then needs to be scanned to confirm the pick. The auto select first expected bin (do not require bin scan) setting, will populate the expected bin once the product barcode has been scanned.
Auto-complete Pick when scanning the last required item – do not require pressing of the “Confirm” button. When you pick the last quantity of a SOP detail line, the system will auto confirm the pick.
Auto set the pick quantity to the required quantity when an item is selected (for traceable items only- this is so that the user will go straight to selecting traceable items). With this setting on, the user will not have to enter the qty on a line for traceable items, they will just need to select the serial numbers.
When picking a sales order you can click on the bin and the system will allow you to pick from another bin. The system will move the allocation on despatch.
Delete empty bins: Clicking on this opens a new window where users can choose which empty bins to delete by bin priority.
If the Pick Bin is selected the system will check for any temporary pick bins with a ‘:’ in and remove them if the confirmed and unconfirmed quantities are zero and any corresponding linked SOPs have been invoiced.
Move free stock in pick bins to put away bin: This will move all free stock in temporary pick bins to the put away bin.
2.7. POP Settings Tab
Receive PO’s into bin- The bin selected here will be used during the PO receive process and the putaway process.
Items requiring inspection go to bin – This bin is used for the inspection process.
With the setting to disable the ‘Due this week/overdue’ flag in receive purchase orders, all future purchase orders will appear.
Allow receipt directly into specified bin (to skip PutAway) – With this setting on, in the action button during PO receiving, you then have the option to put the stock directly into a bin.
Allow label printing during the put away process, enables the print labels button to appear in the put away process.
Allow sequential serial handling with first and last entry only. This allows the first and last serial numbers to be scanned, tabbing on the screen then gives an option for the system to auto populate the serial numbers in between the serials scanned.
Warehouse for failed inspected items – specifies the Warehouse to put failed inspected items.
Bin for failed inspected items – specifies the Bin to put in failed inspected items
2.8. Stock Settings Tab
With the first stock setting ticked the handheld will prevent a stock item being put into a bin that already contains a different stock item.
With the second setting set, when you come to pick serials numbers within the handheld on say a sales order or stock transfer the system lists out the available serials. There is also an option to select all serials
Allow adding stock items barcodes when picking items, allows barcodes to scanned on the handheld and added to the stock item barcode in Sage.
The barcode gets added to the stock item and can be seen by clicking on the barcode button on the stock item.
Hide pick bins from bin selection dropdowns selection in sage: With this ticked the temporary picked bins will not appear in bin selection dropdowns in Sage.
The custom barcode feature allows for non-standard barcodes to be defined, so that the Sicon barcode solution can identify the relevant parts of the barcode.
The handheld barcode scanning enforcement for bins and stock items: dictates whether a user has to scan a bin or stock item or tap on it to select it.
When the enforcement is set to encourage, the user gets the following message, if they do not scan the barcode.
If they select yes, they are then prompted to put in a reason.
With the setting to be enforced, the user has to scan the barcode of the stock item or bin.
Once the stock item barcode has been scanned, the quantity can then be manually adjusted (without scanning).
2.9. Stock Transfer Tab
The stock transfer tab in the settings allows the configuration of stock transfers between warehouses.
The last transfer number is used to generate the next stock transfer sequence number. You can set the default origin and transit warehouses. You can set the internal area, which then dictates nominal postings. You can also enable courier and delivery code selection and maintain the lists of these. The enable bin selection, allows the bins to be selected during the creation of the stock transfer.
Settings on the Stock Item relevant to Barcoding
Barcode: with this populated the handheld will recognise the barcode based on this barcode field. If this is blank, then the stock code will be used instead.
Inspection required when receiving purchase order: When you bring this stock item in on a purchase order, the inspection symbol appears.
When you receive in the stock it is put to the inspection required bin set in settings e.g. inspecitonreq bin. When putting this stock away, the system will move the stock from the inspectionreq bin to an inspection bin. See further notes below on the inspection process.
The inspection required bin is created with a bin priority of 6 and the inspectionbin with a priority of 7.
Sicon Stock Barcoding tab settings:
Label required on goods received: With this setting on, in the PO on the handheld, the flag to state the item requires a label is defaulted on.
With the default ‘only print one label’ on goods received. The label quantity will show as one. You can also configure labels that are specfic to the stock item.
Unit of measure override on devices: This allows a unit to be selected to show on the handheld in the POP, SOP and transfer screens, even though the unit on the transaction may be in a different unit.
On the example below, the stock unit is Sq metre, but handheld users pick in boxes.
If a sales order is put on to sell the stock in Sq metres, the handheld will show this in boxes using the unit of measure to convert the Sq metres to boxes.
On the handheld the user is asked to pick 4 boxes. Once processed in the handheld, the system updates the stock history records in Sage in the stock unit.
3. Maintain Locations
Within this screen, bin locations can be added/removed and sequenced and bin definitions set. The sequence dictates the order that lines will appear in the handheld for picking stock items. E.g. sales orders lines. Bin names can be imported from the bin locations within Sage stock items using the Tools option, import bin names. Specific barcodes for the bin locations and sequences, and bin definitions can also be imported, using the Tools, import and print labels feature. The bin name, barcode override and sequence can be created in excel and then pasted into the screen, see the bin definitions section above for further information.
You can also print bin location barcodes for use within the warehouse.
Bin locations can be flagged as a despatch bin, so in the SOP processing window, items can be moved to this bin location.
The default bin priorities can also be set in this screen, which then shows the bin type descriptions.
4. Stock Item Barcode Import
This import can be used to update the Sage stock item barcode field. Create an import file in excel and save as csv format.
This updates the barcodes within the barcode button on the stock item.
5. Stock Shortage Transfers
In this window, you can create a stock transfer to move stock between warehouses.
Click on New Transfer, add in item details and products to move. Once the stock items have been allocated and the transfer printed, you can then process the despatch in the handheld and print the despatch note. Transfers can also be created to transfer stock to a job and then processed in the handheld.
6. Import Customer Stock Codes
Allows customer barcodes to be imported against stock items using an excel import file. Create an excel CSV file using the template provided (exclude the headers when saving).
Import the file, the customer barcodes are visible against the stock item in the customer codes tab.
7. Handheld Features
The features available in the handheld are controlled by the user permissions.
7.1. Receive Purchase Orders
In this screen, purchase order that are ready to receive will show. You can decide to see orders due this week or to see all orders, by clicking on the due this week/overdue. You can also see/hide fully received orders, by clicking on the hide fully received orders.
Product barcodes can be scanned to update the quantity to receive or quantities can be entered manually. Where items are traceable products the serial numbers also need to be scanned/entered.
Once the items have been scanned, the action button can be used to confirm the receipt, at this point a supplier GRN number is required. The stock can either be put to the putaway bin or direct to a chosen bin (assuming the PO setting to allow this has been ticked).
Where supplier barcodes are being used, if a barcode is scanned and the system does not match it, the system will prompt you to add the barcode to a supplier barcode.
The barcode is added to stock item supplier barcode field.
You can also print labels at this point using the action button, so that barcode can be attached to the products when own barcodes are being used.
Where stock items are set to be traceable and the system auto-generates the number. When the stock is received the labels can then be printed with the serial/batch number created by Sage.
7.2. Put Away Stock
In this screen, products in the Receive POs bin (e.g. unspecified), will show.
You can then scan the product and a bin location to move the stock to the chosen location.
If the product is scanned only, the system will give you a choice of where to put the stock based on the bin locations priority assigned to the product.
If a new bin (not assigned to the stock item) is scanned, then this can be added to the stock item and the stock moved to the new bin.
7.3. Inspect Stock
This routine is used to handle stock items that are flagged as requiring inspection (against the stock item). When they are bought in on a PO, they are received into the inspection bin (specified in the barcode settings). When the stock is put away, the system will prompt the user to put the stock into an inspection bin. If there is no inspection bin for the stock item you can create one.
Once in the inspection bin, the inspect stock option is used to inspect the stock and either pass or fail the stock.
If you pass the inspection the stock is moved to the goods received bin to then be put away. If you fail the inspection, the stock is moved to the failed inspection warehouse and bin specified in the barcode settings.
On the Put Away screen there is an option to only show items that have passed inspection.
7.4. Despatch Sales Orders
This feature allows you to pick, pack and despatch sales orders.
You can select to see orders for today, this week and overdue, or all orders. The orders that appear in the handheld can also be controlled by a SOP ready to pick flag on the SOP.
This can be set manually on the sales order or can be set when the pick list is printed (see the settings tab in the Sage Sicon warehouse settings).
The order of the lines on the sales order can be set be setting the bin sequence in the maintain locations settings of the system. This can be used to control the picking sequence of the order.
In the handheld a product is then selected or scanned (or bin scanned) the quantity to pick is confirmed.
The item then moves to the picked stage.
You can then have a number of actions to print despatch labels if required, move the items to a new bin location (if the SOP enable move to setting has been turned on), print a packing list, despatch the items or put the items back.
Pick/Pack: The Pick/Pack option allows sales orders to be filtered by whether they have been picked or not.
Printing SOP box labels: From the SOP info screen, there is an option to print SOP box labels. This prints the SOP Box Label report to the default printer of the user/warehouse.
You can temporarily hide SOP lines in the handheld by long holding on the SOP line and selecting to hide the line.
7.5. Tilted Sales Order Pick
When combined with the tilted picking software, http://www.tilted.co.uk/services/ sales orders can be grouped together, so that one combined sales order is sent for picking in the handheld.
7.6. Receive Sales Order Returns
Allows sales order returns to be processed and bought back into stock.
7.7. Transfer Stock
This feature can be used to move stock between bins in the warehouse. A bin is first scanned, the stock item is then scanned or selected.
Once an item is selected or scanned, then the system will suggest a bin to move the stock to. If you scan an alternative bin, the system will add this bin to the stock item.
You can then select the bin and confirm the transfer.
7.8. Despatch Stock Transfers
Sicon stock transfers can be despatched from the handheld.
The items can be picked and despatched from the sending warehouse and a despatch note printed. The stock items are moved into the in transit warehouse.
7.9. Receive Stock Transfers
Sicon stock transfers can be received in the handheld, the stock is moved from the in transit warehouse into the receiving warehouse.
7.10. Issue/Return Stock
A stock issue/return in the handheld can be created.
You can build up a list of items to issue, by scanning bins and products which then appear in the issue list.
You can then issue the items. In the same way you can return items.
7.11. Job Issue/Return
You can use this feature to select and issue stock items to and from a job.
7.12. Add Stock
The feature can be used to add stock to the system, by scanning products, then selecting or scanning a location.
7.13. Write Off Stock
This enables you to build a list of stock items to write off.
7.14. Works Order Pick/Issue/Book
Allocated works order component lines can be picked and issued in the handheld.
When picking the item, a label can be printed if required.
The finished item can then be booked in.
A works order label can also be printed at this point if a works order label has been configured in the label settings.
7.15. Build Kits
Allocated kit items can be picked and built in the handheld.
If the kit item has been created on a sales order and the kit created. You can process the kit during SOP despatch, with the system despatching out the kitted item.
Once a stock take is created and saved in Sage, the handheld can be used to record the stock items in each bin.
A bin location can be scanned and then the products in the bin scanned or entered. Once confirmed the quantities are updated in Sage.
An enter serial numbers and an internal area for traceable adjustments has been added to the above standard Sage screen.
For serial numbered items, when completing the stocktake in Sage, the system displays the serial numbers to add/write off.
You can then view the details in each bin of the items to add/remove. You can also access this screen from the enter serial numbers button in the Sage enter stock values screen.
You can then complete the stock take and the system will adjust in/out the traceable stock as required using the nominal set against the internal area to post journals where the nominal is integrated to the nominal.
7.17. Stock Enquiry
Allows you to scan a bin and see stock items with the bin.
Or scan a stock item and see information about the stock item and where they are located.
When an ad hoc label has been configured in the barcode label settings within Sage, a print label icon will appear in the stock info screen.
You can then print a label for the item.
You can also take a picture of the stock from the stock enquiry screen, by clicking on the camera button in the bottom left corner. Saving the picture, replaces the camera icon with the photo.
The stock image has been saved to the stock image on the stock item.
The image can also be viewed when picking the stock item, by clicking on the image icon to the right of the product code.
Refresh application data, will update the data on the handheld.
Set Default Printers | allows printers to be selected against the user logged into the handheld.
Change company/warehouse, allows a user to switch between companies/warehouse. Previously logged into warehouses will show.
Bluetooth devices, is used to link devices to the handheld. A blue line shows when a device is connected.
7.19. General Points
During the picking process a SOP/WO/KIT/ST temporary pick bin is created. These are deleted once the transaction has been processed.
8. Barcode Scanner Connection
You can either use an External Bluetooth Scanner (e.g. JM Prime S700-CCD-BT) or a Built-In-Scanner (e.g. Seuic devices) with the Sicon Barcoding & Warehousing module. This section explains how to connect both types of scanner.
8.1. External Bluetooth Scanner (e.g. JM Prime S700-CCD-BT)
- Ensure your handheld scanner is turned on, this is usually done by holding down the trigger until it beeps and a light turns on.
- Turn on Bluetooth on your handheld device and pair it with the scanner using the pairing code found in the scanner instruction manual. It will then be paired.
- Depending on the scanner configuration, you may notice a keyboard icon in the notification bar. This means the scanner is acting like a keyboard, which will disable the on-screen keyboard. If your scanner has a “Serial” or “SPP” mode, this may be preferable as it will not disable the on-screen keyboard. The following steps will configure this mode. If your scanner does not have this mode, configuration is complete.
- Enable SPP/Serial mode on the scanner, this is usually done by scanning a combination of barcodes found in the instruction manual. You will find that the keyboard icon in the previous image has gone.
- Inside the Barcoding application, navigate from the Main Menu to “Settings” and then “Bluetooth Devices”. It will show a list of paired devices. Tap the list item for the scanner and the scanner will beep as it connects. There will now be a blue line at the top of the screen, which means the scanner is connected to the application.
- From now on, when the application starts or wakes from sleep, it will try to connect to that scanner automatically. If the scanner is not turned on at that time, it will fail to connect. If you wish to reconnect the scanner while the application is running, you can tap the “Scan” button on any screen that accepts barcode.
8.2. Built-In Scanners (e.g. Seuic devices)
Being built-in, the scanner itself will not need configuring, but there are some software settings to consider.
- Open the “Scan tool” application.
- Ensure the “Barcode Send Model” is set to “EmuKey” (this is not the default).
- This will prompt to select a keyboard for input, select “Custom”.
9. Printing Methods & Recommended Equipment
There are two thermal printing methods that we would recommend when setting up your system, each technology can produce one and two dimensional barcode symbologies, graphics and text at the same print resolutions and speeds.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DIRECT THERMAL AND THERMAL TRANSFER PRINTING?
In the simplest terms, thermal transfer printing utilises a thermal ribbon and direct thermal printing does not.
Each method uses a thermal printhead that applies heat to the surface being marked. Thermal transfer printing uses a heated ribbon to produce durable, long-lasting images on a wide variety of materials. No ribbon is used in direct thermal printing, which creates the image directly on the printed material. Direct thermal media is more sensitive to light, heat and abrasion, which reduces the life of the printed material.
WHY DIRECT THERMAL AND THERMAL TRANSFER ARE THE BEST TECHNOLOGIES FOR PRINTING BARCODES?
Thermal label printers are ideal for barcode printing because they produce accurate, high-quality images with excellent edge definition. Thermal printers are engineered to print within tight tolerances and to produce the exact bar widths that successful barcode printing and scanning require. Each technology can produce one and two dimensional barcode symbologies, graphics and text at the same print resolutions and speeds.
9.1. Direct Thermal Printing
NB: this requires a Thermal Label
- This method of printing requires a heat sensitive label material. The print head elements come into direct contact with the heat sensitive material where the heat from the elements causes a colour change in the material to create the printed image.
- Direct thermal printing uses chemically treated, heat-sensitive media that blackens when it passes under the thermal printhead.
- Direct thermal printers have no ink, toner or ribbon.
- Their simple design makes thermal printers durable and easy to use.
- Because there is no ribbon, direct thermal printers cost less to operate than inkjet, laser, impact and thermal transfer printers. Most mobile printers use direct thermal technology.
- Thermal media images may fade over time. If the label is overexposed to heat, light or other catalysts, the material will darken and make the text or barcode unreadable. For these reasons, direct thermal printing is not used for lifetime identification applications. The readability of direct thermal labels, wristbands and receipt papers varies greatly depending on the usage conditions. However, the technology provides ample lifespan for many common barcode printing applications including shipping labels, patient and visitor identification, receipts and ticket printing.
- Direct thermal labels can easily remain scannable after spending six months in storage in a distribution centre.
- Common thermal printing applications include: shipping labels, including compliance labels; receipts; pick tickets; coupons; event tickets; citations and parking tickets; name tags; visitor passes; ….and more.
9.2. Thermal Transfer Printing
NB: this requires a Thermal Ribbon
- This method involves the thermal print head elements (dots) heating the backside of a thermal transfer ribbon to melt and transfer the compounds on the front side of the ribbon to the label material, thus creating the printed image.
- A thermal printhead applies heat to a ribbon, which melts ink onto the material to form the image. The ink is absorbed so that the image becomes part of the media. This technique provides image quality and durability that is unmatched by other on-demand printing technologies.
- Thermal transfer printers can accept a wider variety of media than direct thermal models, including paper, polyester and polypropylene materials. Thermal transfer printers can create extremely durable wristbands, asset tags and certification labels, in addition to common labels, tags and tickets.
NB: The specific label material and ribbon must be carefully matched to ensure print performance and durability.
- By selecting the right media-ribbon combination, as well as speciality adhesives, users can create archival-quality labels to withstand temperature extremes, ultraviolet exposure, chemicals, sterilisation and more.
- Typical thermal transfer applications include: product identification; circuit board tracking; permanent identification; sample and file tracking; asset tagging; inventory identification; certification labels such as UL/CSA; laboratory specimens; cold storage and freezers; and outdoor applications.
9.3. Recommended Printing Equipment
We recommend GSM Printer & Label Systems Ltd, who have kindly provided us with some very basic information regarding typical printing solutions for the ZD420.
|Description||Approx. Guide Price*|
|PRINTER||Zebra ZD420 Desktop Printer, 4” Thermal Transfer, 200 dpi, with USB, USB Host,
BTLE, WLAN (802.11ac) & Bluetooth v4.1.
|Approx. starting price: £337.00|
|Zebra ZD420 Desktop Printer, 4” Thermal Transfer, 300 dpi, with USB, USB Host,
BTLE, WLAN (802.11ac) & Bluetooth v4.1.
|Approx. starting price: £374.00|
|LABELS||Topcoated direct thermal paper label for short term indoor labelling.||Approx. starting price: £40.00|
|Economy thermal transfer paper labels for short term indoor labelling.||Approx. starting price: £70.00|
|Topcoated thermal transfer paper labels for short term indoor labelling.||Approx. starting price: £76.00|
|White/Silver Polyester label for indoor and outdoor use with good chemical resistance and superior resistance to scratching and smearing.||Approx. starting price: £245.00|
|Polypropylene labels with extreme low temperature permanent adhesive.||Approx. starting price: £420.00|
|RIBBONS||2000: Economy wax ribbon cartridge (for ZD420 Desktop printers) / Black / 110mm x 74Mtr [Box of 6].||Approx. starting price: £24.60|
*Zebra stock labels are supplied with permanent adhesive as standard. **Pricing is excl. VAT and is dependent on exchange rate, size and quantity. BOX qtys vary.
To request an accurate quote based on your sites requirements, please contact:
GSM Printer & Label Systems Ltd
When contacting GMS Barcoding, please confirm that this is a Sicon Project to ensure you get the best possible deal.
NB: this is merely an introductory guide to the typical applications GSM Printer & Label Systems Ltd can cater for, there are many different combinations available. The pricing included is a rough estimate based on the smallest label size from each category.
9.4. Installing the Zebra Label Printer ZD420
This section is to assist you in setting up Zebra ZD420 Series Desktop Label Printers, which we recommend using with the Sicon Barcoding & Warehousing module for Sage 200.
Install the Zebra Setup utilities (from CD):
Go through Wizard to install:
Run the Zebra Setup Utilities from Desktop or Program Files:
The below should open:
Connect the Printer Via USB and install. (Sometimes they will Automatically install and appear) Once installed the Printer(s) will be listed in the white box:
Click on Configure Printer Connectivity and select your connectivity type:
Printers are usually installed with a Static IP.
Select Static and enter IP Configuration. (Please acquire Wi-Fi and IP Info from your IT Dept):
If you chose Wireless then select your band:
Choose Country and enter Wi-Fi Channels.
Enter ESSID and your wireless mode:
Make sure the operating mode is set to Infrastructure:
Ok the above, then click Next:
Make sure Printer is selected below:
After you press Finish the settings will be sent to the Printer Via USB and it will restart itself. Repeat for another printer calling it something different with a new IP address.
10. WIFI Requirements & Specifications
Why do I Need a Good Quality Wireless Network?
With our Barcoding & Warehousing solution your warehouse staff will be moving around your warehouse areas with racking, walls and boxes full of various materials that will endeavour to obstruct the Wi-Fi signal strength. Basic wireless network infrastructures do not allow the wireless devices to jump from access point to access point without any loss of data, causing them to reload data or interfere with the use of the application. To avoid this, it is important to put in a suitable wireless network infrastructure.
For small warehouses, a single wireless router or access point located centrally may be sufficient to provide good coverage throughout the entire area, so please get advice and a survey before spending more than you need to.
We have put together two examples for Warehouse Wifi setup below.
Interference, Data Tunneling and Seamless Roaming are the biggest factors to consider and both of the below solutions manage it all. The biggest difference is that Cisco is all Cloud Managed and Subscription based, whereas Ruckus is perpetual.
NB: Sicon do not provide any barcoding hardware or wireless network infrastructure, but we can offer advice and recommend suppliers who are experts in this field if you require assistance.
10.1. Ruckus Wireless Infrastructure for Warehouse Barcode Systems
There are a few things to consider when you want mobility with wireless and even more so when you need it in a warehouse.
Ruckus’ Zoneflex – Making WiFi Work in Hostile RF Environments: In warehouses, getting wireless to function as it’s supposed to can be difficult. Between huge areas filled with metal racks, a myriad of handheld WiFi devices, moving vehicles, constantly-changing environmental conditions and no pervasive Ethernet network, connectivity is an enormous challenge.
Ruckus offers users:
- MOBILITY! All clients connected to access points are bridged to the Zone Director for seamless roaming, (Data Tunneling).
- Industrial-strength WiFi that provides longer-range signals that can be steered around obstacles and interference.
- More flexible deployment options with Smart Mesh Networking that eliminates the requirement to run Ethernet cable to connect wireless access points.
- Ubiquitous WiFi coverage with fewer wireless access points, for lower CAPEX.
- Indoor and outdoor Smart WiFi wireless access points that are managed as a unified system.
- Centralized control of ZoneFlex Smart WiFi wireless access points.
- Powerful, yet simple controlled guest networking capabilities.
- Automatic interference avoidance with BeamFlex.
- Integrated into every Smart WiFi wireless access point is a sophisticated high-gain directional antenna system, which constantly focuses and directs WiFi.
10.2. Meraki Wireless Infrastructure for Warehouse Barcode Systems
Cisco Meraki’s powerful, automated RF optimisation system delivers high performance in high density environments and under challenging interference conditions.
Meraki offers users:
- A fully cloud managed dashboard.
- Seamless Mobility: the ability to roam seamlessly within an environment is fundamental to today’s collaborative spaces.
- RF Optimisation: high performance in high density environments and under challenging interference conditions.
- Mesh networking, included in every Cisco Meraki AP, extends coverage too hard to wire areas and creates a self-healing network that is resilient to cable and switch failures. Cisco Meraki pioneered high performance mesh routing, with technologies such as multi-radio routing and per-flow analysis that optimise Cisco Meraki’s mesh for performance and reliability.
- Cisco Meraki’s location analytics and engagement solution displays real-time location statistics to improve customer engagement and loyalty across sites. Data collected by intelligent Meraki APs is synced with the Meraki cloud, automatically reported in the dashboard and exported to third-party applications via the Cisco Meraki Location Analytics API.
- Rapid Saleable Deployment: APs self-configure via the cloud for turnkey site installation. Manage deployments and set granular user, device and application policies using a feature-rich network management system. The flexibility and scalability of the Cisco Meraki cloud-based architecture eliminates investment in complex multi-tiered hardware and software systems.
- Cloud architecture with carrier-grade SLA – Geographically redundant data centers and seamless failover provide operators with a 99.99% carrier-grade SLA. Firmware updates are delivered seamlessly via the cloud, keeping large operator deployments up to date with the latest features and eliminating end-of-life and controller-interoperability issues.
- Concentrator based Layer 3 Roaming: any client that is connected to a layer 3 roaming enabled SSID is automatically bridged to the Meraki Mobility Concentrator. The Mobility Concentrator acts as a focal point to which all client traffic will be tunnelled and anchored when the client moves between VLANs. In this fashion, any communication data directed towards a client by third party clients or servers will appear to originate at this central anchor.
11. Barcodes - The Basics
For information on what barcodes are, how they work and how to set them up, we find this site really useful:
11.1. Barcode Numbers
There are a couple of options when it comes to the numbering of your barcodes. You can simply use the stock item as your barcode reference if it is only for your internal use. However, if you need your products to be recognised by a unique code that can be used by your customers or identified globally, you will need to register them with GS1.
11.2. GS1 Barcodes
GS1 are a global, neutral, non-profit standards organisation that brings efficiency and transparency to the supply chain. Their barcode and technology tools create a common foundation, enabling you to identify, capture and share vital information about products, locations and assets. GS1 provides a common language to share information with customers, partners and suppliers using barcodes to store information such as product numbers, serial numbers and batch numbers. Barcodes play a key role in supply chains, enabling parties like retailers, manufacturers, transport providers and hospitals to automatically identify and track products as they move through the supply chain.
GS1 manages several types of barcodes. Each is designed for use in a different situation:
- EAN/UPC family: Instantly recognisable 1D barcodes used in retail all over the world.
- DataBar family: Compact 1D barcodes that can hold additional product attributes such as the weight of fresh foods.
- One-dimensional (1D) barcodes: Used exclusively in general distribution and logistics: Versatile 1D barcodes used to represent ID keys and attributes in a distribution environment.
- Two-dimensional (2D) barcodes: Compact, high-capacity 2D symbols suitable for representing all GS1 keys and attributes.
For more information, please visit http://www.gs1.org/barcodes
11.3. GS1 Costs
The following table is a guide to the GS1 Membership Fees and can be found on the GS1 website along with details of the benefits of the membership package: https://www.gs1uk.org/get-a-barcode/membership-benefits.
For more information or to calculate membership costs based on your site requirements, please visit https://www.gs1uk.org/join-us.
|Allocation (barcode numbers)|
|up to £0.50m||£119||Up to 1,000 numbers|
|£0.5m to £1m||£131||Up to 1,000 numbers|
|£1m to £10m||£ 203||Up to 1,000 numbers|
|£10m to £50m||£318||Up to 10,000 numbers|
|£50m to £100m||£1,333||Up to 10,000 numbers|
|£100m to £250m||£1,743||Up to 10,000 numbers|
|£250m to £500m||£2,255||Up to 100,000 numbers|
|£500m to £1bn||£2,768||Up to 100,000 numbers|
|Over £1bn||£3,280||Up to 100,000 numbers|
All prices exclude VAT
Information correct as of November 2018 – please check the GS1 website for updates
12. Barcodes and Zebra Label & Printer Settings
This information aims to illustrate the settings that may require to be changed dependent on the size and format of the label. It may not be necessary to visit and adjust all these settings, however in our experience we have found that these are the settings that we have needed to visit in order to get the label to print successfully.
12.1. Zebra Setup Utilities
NB: the examples given below are for Zebra labels (1 across) with a label size measuring 2” by 1”.
NB: Speed and Darkness settings may be OK, however these settings work well.
12.2. Sage 200 Report Designer
File; Page Setup; Printer
Try using ‘Calibrate media’ to resolve issues with labels not printing correctly or blank labels appearing between the printed ones.
File; Page Setup; Labels
Highlight the barcode; Properties;
Barcode Format – Code 128
Select … to Edit Barcode Format
13. Trouble Shooting
Company Service Administrators would be able to assist mobile users with their app by using a remote connection such as Quick Support/TeamViewer: Remote Control which offers iPhone Support, the service administrator would be able to use this remote software to connect in with the mobile user (as if they were using it).
This may be beneficial if the mobile user is new and needs some assistance on the use of the app.
Any trouble shooting for synchronisation issues between the App/Sicon’s Web Api/Sage 200 would be something the companies system admin person carries out or the company’s Business partner support team.
This is not something that users should be looking to investigate.
When troubleshooting our mobile apps, there are a few steps to follow that can help resolve the issue or assist with gathering information to speed up the diagnosis by our support team.
Our mobile apps use our WebAPI to retrieve data from Sage, so ensuring this is running and accessible is the first step. It’s likely to have been exposed as one of the following and it will be necessary to find out this URL or access the Sage Server.
You should be able to access this URL from the device you’re having trouble with. If you cannot, you may be on the wrong network, be using the wrong URL or you may be having network problems.
If the URL prompts for a username and password, this is a good sign. An administrator should be aware of a “Servicing” password that will grant access to this portal, it will have been configured during the installation process. The username is always “admin”, the default servicing password is also “admin”.
If successful, the following page should appear:
There are 6 areas within the WebAPI portal that can help with troubleshooting that have been labelled above:
- Enable String Expiries – If an enable string has expired, that product will no longer function in Sage and as such the associated mobile apps will no longer work either. Expired strings will be shown in red. An exception to this is that the “SM Mobile” enable string will also activate the WebAPI.
- Loaded Modules – This section will show the loaded Sicon Modules in the WebAPI and in later builds it will also show the last updated date. Is it important that after an update to Sage Modules that the WebAPI can obtain these updates – instructions for this are provided in the “Module Upgrade Process” section on the portal.
- Company List – The company list shows the companies that are accessible to the Web User that the WebAPI is running as. To add companies, give your selected Web User access to that company in Sage Administration. If you’re using Sage 2011, only one company is accessible so this is not shown. In newer versions, you can also “pre-load” reporting services for each company if you wish, which will ensure they can run and reduce the time it takes to generate the first label/report requested. If they do not start, the log can be viewed.
- Service Status – There are 2 services that are now installed with the WebAPI, a Reporting Service and an Update Service. The Reporting Service may not be necessary depending on the products you’re using, but the Update Service is important in simplifying the process of updating the WebAPI when Sage Modules are updated. Both can be started from the WebAPI portal if required.
- Log – This is the main log for the WebAPI, which will contain any errors that occurred when sending/requesting data from the mobile apps or from other third party software. Errors are highlighted in red to make them easier to find and will often have a matching request entry before them that may also be useful when diagnosing issues. The error log entry and matching request entry together are invaluable for diagnosing problems.
If the above trouble shooting points have been investigated, and an issue still occurs then the systems administrator should contact their first line support this may be the Business Partner or Sicon directly which ever has been agreed between the customer and their Business Partner.
14. Release Notes
The release notes page shows which release of the system includes new features or issues resolved.
With the release of the Sicon v19, our version numbering has changed slightly. Previously our add-on versions were numbered in the format 201x.18.0.1. From Sicon v19, our modules will be numbered in the format 201x.190.0.1 This is because we have three Sicon releases planned per year and we will use the second group of digits to reflect these as xx1 and xx2. We use the third set of digits to reflect whether it is a release or a pre-release build and the fourth set then give the build number.
New features detailed in the Release Notes relating to Pre-Release versions will not be detailed in the current Help and User Guide until the end of development phase.Barcoding & Warehousing Release Notes